One Neighborhood at a Time

Lara Schopp Articles, Staff Messages

By Barbara George, Director of Membership Development

How do you build Community? One neighborhood at a time.

My 8th grade class consisted of 53 students; classmates I had grown up with and known my whole, long life. Together we entered our high school of 4,000…1,000 in our freshman class. This could have been pretty daunting were it not for our friendship and the support we provided one another while exploring and adjusting to our new environment. So many people to meet and so many opportunities for participation! Where to begin?

At Country Club Christian, one goal set before us by the Congregational Board is to offer pathways for spiritual development to people at all stages of life and faith. One path that we talk a lot about is building community through small groups. We are called to love our neighbor, across town and around the world. But do you literally know your neighbors down the street or just around the corner from you? Maybe they’re some of the same people you see every Sunday at church.

Dr. Mike Graves first introduced us to celebrating “joyful communion” a couple of years ago. He talked about how the earliest Christians met every day to share a meal while moving to a different house each evening. Each person brought something for the meal to share with others—Mike called it the church’s first pot-luck supper. They sat on the floor, discussed not only Jesus’ teachings, but probably politics of the day. The common meal was the center point for Christian fellowship, followed by worship and celebration of the Lord’s Supper. From all walks of life, everyone was included; everyone was welcome to share in the meal. Beyond the material benefits, the Christian community brought a new sense of belonging that had never been extended to society’s marginalized people.

As a congregation we will again form small groups of 10 people and explore considerations of this meal: intimacy, inclusion and joy. On three evenings during October and November, members and guests alike are invited to participate in neighborhood groups across our area just as the early Christians did. Groups will experience fellowship around a meal and Mike will provide a guided discussion for each evening. From these neighborhoods we come together as one large congregation for Sunday worship and work together during the week for the greater good.

How do we build community? One neighborhood at a time. Come share in the experience.